UMN Crookston announces assistant baseball coaches

Submitted by UMN Crookston
Crookston Times

The University of Minnesota Crookston baseball program announced the addition of Dalton Parks and Clarke Peterson as assistant baseball coaches. Parks and Peterson are both alumni of the university, helping Coach Steve Gust establish a strong culture of success for Golden Eagle baseball, including four NSIC Tournament appearances in the last seven seasons.

“I am more than pleased with the staff that we have at Minnesota Crookston,” said Head Coach Steve Gust. “These guys have a passion for the game and will do whatever it takes for our players and this program to be successful. They are hardworking, knowledgeable and want nothing more than to see this program continue to move forward.”

Parks returns to UMN Crookston after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant at NCAA Division II school University of West Alabama in Livingston, Ala. He will serve as the hitting/outfield coach at UMN Crookston. Parks oversaw outfielders, assisted hitters, on and off-campus recruiting, practice planning, field work, and other duties as assigned at West Alabama. Parks helped the Tigers to a combined 22-32 record in two seasons. In 2021, West Alabama hit .277 as a team with 195 runs, 53 doubles, four triples, 18 home runs, and 166 RBIs. They posted a .369 on-base percentage and a .751 OPS. The Tigers walked 137 times and had a .382 slugging percentage.

“This position requires a person with a strong work ethic and knowledge of our program's offensive philosophy, and Dalton fits that description very well,” Gust stated. “He has stayed in baseball since he left our program as a player. That shows the passion and desire we are looking for in a coach. His experience, knowledge of the program and hitting philosophy is exactly what we need.”

Prior to West Alabama, Parks was an assistant coach at Clarendon College, a Division I junior college in Texas. During his time, he worked with hitters and also helped with practice planning, and recruiting. For the 2019 season, Clarendon hit .321, with a .426 on-base percentage, a .534 slugging percentage, and 47 home runs.

In addition, Parks served as the head coach of the Muhlenberg County Stallions, a summer collegiate baseball team in the Ohio Valley League. In addition, he worked as an assistant coach for the Derby Twins of the Sunflower Collegiate League during the 2019 summer season.

Parks’ first job out of high school was as the assistant coach for Hunter H.S. in West Valley City, Utah. His responsibilities included running practice, setting the line-up, coaching third base, working infield and outfield, and field maintenance.

Parks played for the Golden Eagles during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, helping Coach Gust instill a strong culture in the program. Parks was a part of the first UMN Crookston baseball team to make the NSIC Tournament since 2001. He was an NSIC All-Academic Team recipient. Parks appeared in 33 games and started 14 as a senior as the Golden Eagles won 25 games during his senior year. As a junior, Parks started 49 of 50 games UMN Crookston played.

He received his Bachelor of Science in sports and rec management from UMN Crookston. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Physical Education from the University of West Alabama.

Peterson returns to Minnesota Crookston after one season as an assistant coach at Northland Community and Technical College. He will serve as the pitching and strength and conditioning coach for Minnesota Crookston. Northland hit .296 as a team during the 2021 season, with 105 runs scored, 27 doubles, 17 home runs, and 95 RBIs. On the mound, they had 110 strikeouts to 81 walks.

“Clarke's passion for this program is unmatched,” Gust said. “As a player, he was a passionate teammate and eager to learn and improve each day. He has the background conducive to being a coach. He has worked hard the past couple of years to learn the new science of pitching, the biomechanics of the body, and strength and conditioning.”

As a player, Peterson was a five-year player for the Golden Eagles competing as a catcher and a pitcher. He was a team leader during his time with UMN Crookston. As a junior in 2019, Peterson appeared in seven games and started two. Peterson made one appearance on the mound in 2020, pitching one shutout inning, with one hit and a strikeout.

Peterson earned his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota Crookston in 2020.

Clarke Peterson
Dalton Parks